Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Air Freight Numbers Down as Cargo Capacity Increases

IATA Releases Figures for April
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Figures out today from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) were talked up after revealing a downturn in the freight market with a drop in cargo carriage of over 4%. IATA ‘s claim that the 4.2% contraction in air freight markets compared to April 2011 is somewhat misleading as it uses as evidence the fact that air freight markets slumped sharply in the first half of 2011 and bottomed out towards the end of the year. This would seem to indicate that the figures are in fact worse rather than mitigated by the previous years fall.

Various distortions and month-to-month volatility have marked the industry performance since the beginning of 2012 and in fact April cargo levels stood at about 2% higher than in November 2011. About 80% of this improvement has been seen by Middle Eastern airlines which showed a 14.5% increase in demand. But this was behind a 15.1% increase in capacity.

Air freight for the Asia-Pacific, European and North American carriers has continued to show weakness with the region’s carriers seeing a 7.3% decline in demand in April, well ahead of capacity cuts of 4.1%.reflecting weakening exports from China. Meanwhile African airlines showed a 6.1% increase in demand, behind a 9.0% increase in cargo capacity.

European airlines saw a 4.9% fall in cargo traffic compared to the year before, despite having cut capacity by 0.2%, North American carriers showed a 6.4% drop in demand with a 2.9% cut in capacity and Latin American freighters recorded a 3.6% fall in demand even though capacity expanded by 8.8% compared to April 2011. IATA will update its industry financial outlook on 11th June at the Association’s Annual General Meeting to be held in Beijing, China from 10-12th June 2012. Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented:

“It’s a volatile and risky world. Airlines are being cautious managing through the uncertainty. Overall passenger demand was up 6.1% in April and capacity increases were held back to 3.8% and there are signs that cargo has bottomed out. Amid the many distortions that have marked the first four months of the year, it is possible to identify the start of a growth trend in cargo for some parts of the world. But economic uncertainty in Europe makes it very difficult to be optimistic in the near to medium-term.”

Full April traffic statistics can be seen HERE.